Safe to Use Discount Hotel Websites?

Old May 4th, 2003, 12:26 PM
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Safe to Use Discount Hotel Websites?

Going to Paris in July and have narrowed hotel choices to Hotel Le Clos Medicis and Hotel Bel Ami. I'm nervous about using a discount hotel website (there are so many!) - are reservations alwalys guaranteed?
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Old May 4th, 2003, 01:37 PM
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Hi helrot,

Who are you planning to book through?

Also, can you contact the hotel directly?

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Old May 4th, 2003, 01:48 PM
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I can get a discounted rate at Expedia and few other sites such as Fastres.com, Parisres.com or book directly through the hotels for an extra $50 - $75 a night.
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Old May 4th, 2003, 01:58 PM
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If when you inquire through the booking site you end up hearing directly from the hotel, I'd feel confident that there will be no problem. Usually you make the request through the site, you then hear back from the hotel with an offer or the confirmation that the room is available at that rate, and you are asked to seal the deal by sending a credit card number w/expiration date either by a secure email or by fax. Many people prefer to use the fax. They should in all cases send back a confirmation that your reservation has been made. Be certain to print out and save any email exchanges, and about 2 weeks before you leave re-confirm with the hotel that you are coming. Also, understand clearly what, if any, cancellation fees might apply should you have a change in plans for any reason.
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Old May 4th, 2003, 03:12 PM
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Personally I would book directly with the hotel. You may not receive a deep discount as you would with the discount hotel websites, but I really don't trust those so-called discount sites. Some of them have strict cancellation policies or may have you prepay.
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Old May 4th, 2003, 05:11 PM
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I have used the discount sites several times without problems. Print the confirmation page from the discounter and take it with you to the hotel. I have never yet had a problem and have used Utell, Discounthotel, and SRS-world hotels. Make sure you do read the discounter's cancellation policy prior to acceptance. If you still feel nervous about this and feel that bthe discount you are receiving isn't worth it then don't do it. You should also have the guarantee that comes with using your credit card which basically says you do not pay for goods/services yopu don't receive.
 
Old May 4th, 2003, 07:42 PM
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Expedia is a pretty big and wellknown company -- if you can really save $50-75 a night by booking through them, I sure would. I've never known them to have many discounts, though. I've never heard of the other two, but parisres.com doesn't seem to exist on my computer, and those two hotels aren't listed in fastres.com

Anyway, I would use a booking site for that kind of savings, if it's real, if there weren't strings attached. However, Expedia lists Clos Medicis at $181 corporate/AARP rate (which maybe one can't get) and $198 for kind of the std room rate. The hotel's own rates are 165 euro for a std room (which is now US$185, not a $50-75 savings), and 180 euro for a superior. So, I would just check whether you are really getting a discount.
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Old May 4th, 2003, 07:59 PM
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Try this -- print out the offered rate at the discount site... fax or email to the hotel, and say:

"I would much rather deal directly with you, and not pay a middle man a commission...can you honor this discount if I deal with you directly? If not, can you verify that will honor reservations from this site?"

There should be no problem... just print out copies and bring them with you!! And I would always call/email the hotel a couple days before traveling to confirm the reservation (standard practice), just like airfare tickets.
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Old May 5th, 2003, 07:59 AM
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topping
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Old May 5th, 2003, 08:35 AM
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I've used CheapRooms.com, and haven't had any problems (and a friend uses it all the time, never any problems).
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Old May 5th, 2003, 09:04 AM
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I don't know which website you're using but I have used several and so far haven't encountered a single problem. I've used:
www.superbreak.com (London)
www.hotelsbook.net (Paris)
www.charmingvenice.com (Venice)
www.charmingflorence.com (Florence)
www.holidaycity.com (Rome)

My personal experience with the above was all positive. You can also send an email to the hotel directly to make sure that they did receive your reservation from the broker.
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Old May 5th, 2003, 09:06 PM
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Thanks so much for the helpful info - I ended up contacting Parisres.com. The next day, Hotel Bel Ami emailed me directly offering money off their normal rate - which I went with.
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Old May 7th, 2003, 04:11 AM
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As an additional precaution, you might consider using a low limit credit card (e.g. $1000) when making internet reservations (or when you fax your credit card details to a hotel). It won't help you ensure that the room you booked is there, but it will reduce the hassle associated with someone ripping off your credit card number.
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Old May 7th, 2003, 08:55 AM
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Thanks Alexis823!

I'd never heard of Superbreak before. I just tried it, and found a great rate for a 5* hotel I'd reluctantly decided I couldn't afford. I called the hotel with the Superbreak rate to see if I could negotiate directly (they said no, but confirmed that it was the lowest rate available). So I booked on Superbreak and saved 35 pounds a night, plus the value of breakfast. There are cancellations fees for this lower rate, but I'm close enough to the trip now that I can take the risk.
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